Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Don't step on it, it might be Ringo.

For the past three Christmases, our family holiday card has been a parody of a Beatles album cover, largely because the word "Beatles" can so easily be manipulated into "Beecheys," and because there are four children in the next generation, if you count the dog. Of course I count the dog, don't you know me by now? (Here's a tip. You can neglect your friends from January to December, but send them an original, homemade Christmas card and you're golden for another twelve months.)

For this year's card, we needed a top hat as a prop, to be worn by that junior Lon Chaney, Tertius. (I will not, at this point, give away the identity of the album to be mercilessly manipulated for the forthcoming holiday, but it's probably the last one that's sufficiently iconic for recipients to get the reference. I refuse to attempt "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band.") On the same run to Party City, young T also got his long-requested bald cap, an essential part of his proposed Halloween costume for 2011, which is to be a hobo. I always believe in encouraging forward planning. Not that you can do any backward planning. Of course, it's no surprise that he enters the office where I'm working claiming to have the largest brain in the world, because he's wearing the oversize, flesh-colored bald cap with a large bubble of air trapped in the top.

Ten minutes later, he's back. He's ditched the bald cap and is now wearing the top hat and a black sweater. He says he's Abraham Lincoln. (He tries to fashion a white dishcloth into a stock, but throws it to one side, claiming it smells of throw-up. It didn't, it was freshly laundered.) I ask him where his beard is, and he says he'd have one if he could find a spare Post-It note. However, he's quite logically substituted a clip-on ear-ring. Abe, dude.

*Only after I printed all the cards did it occur to me that the row of Leilas would be funnier if it were reversed -- four pictures with her ears down and the last showing her ears raised. I've now made a version like this, but the image here is what our friends and family actually received. Or should have, if we'd finished writing them all before Purim. 

Incidentally, the Leila images aren't the same picture with the ears manipulated. They're two totally different pictures of the beast taken at different times under completely different lighting conditions. Behold the power of Photoshop. (Friends and relatives in England were miffed that I seemed to have shipped the kids to Abbey Road but didn't find time to visit. I had to explain that it was all done with a homemade bluescreen in the back yard.)


  1. Yes, you may ignore me for many months running, but keep the cards coming...

    I don't do Photoshop, but I do play with digital images a lot (comes from designing paper dolls and manipulating pattern catalog illustrations and other really important things when I should be working), and I would think that plugging faces into the Sgt. Pepper cover would be fairly easy. On the other hand, what fun would that be for Tertius, if he could not actually dress up?

  2. Exactly. In every case, I wanted to recreate the image, completely replace the moptops, and not just paste faces onto existing artwork. That's why we're going to try something different next time around -- if Primus isn't too cool at age 12 to consider cooperating.